Growing Beef newsletter

Director Column

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Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center director's monthly column featured in Cattleman Magazine. Archives

Dan Loy in The Cattleman Magazine


December 2021

A look back at 2021

Last year was a year of ups and downs. Most of us were glad to have 2020 in the rear view mirror, but 2021 started with coronavirus surge and much uncertainty about the future. January is normally the month of major beef educational events in Iowa. Last year those events were either moved to virtual or postponed. The Feedlot Forum in Sioux Center was postponed to August, the 50th anniversary of the Cornbelt Cow Calf Conference was postponed a year, and the Driftless Region Beef Conference and Three-State Beef Conference were held virtually. Look for all of these events to be back, live and in person in 2022. Featured speakers include Dr. Ron Gill, Extension Beef Specialist from Texas A&M who will give a forward look to the beef industry at the Driftless Region Beef Conference in Dubuque. At the Cornbelt Cow Calf Conference in Ottumwa, Dr. Bob Hough, former breed association executive and beef industry historian, will review the changes in the beef industry over the 50 years of the conference.

Even through the lockdowns in early 2021 we continued to provide in-person Beef Quality Assurance certifications while following ISU and local social distancing guidelines. We know many of you have expiring Beef Quality Assurance certifications, and know this program is important. We will continue to provide BQA training and certification sessions across Iowa in the coming months. The goal of BQA is that of enhancing trust as responsible stewards of the animals. The BQA program is provided in partnership with the Iowa Beef Industry Council, and a list of upcoming events is available on that website.

In June of last year, Iowa was honored to host one of the first major in-person events of the year, the Beef Improvement Federation Annual Convention and Symposium. An excellent set of speakers shared thoughts about the future of the industry, new technology and practical experience in beef improvement. Attendees clearly enjoyed the opportunity to network and interact face to face. You can see archives of the presentation and the proceedings at the conference website. One aspect of beef improvement on your own operation is good records. For help with this, be sure to contact us for one of our popular updated calving books.

The summer of 2021 brought drought to many parts of Iowa. While timely late summer and fall rains ensured a good statewide grain crop, hay and pasture suffered. This challenge, coupled with locally devastating army worm infestations may lead to feed supply challenges in many locations. Feel free to contact your local beef specialist to discuss feed and forage options.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the Iowa Cattlemen’s Leadership Summit on December 15-16. Also, we will be hosting four Beef Cow Clinics on Dec. 1 and 9 in Iowa City, Monticello, Audubon and Ames. These will clinics will cover nutrition, reproduction, and preparing for the breeding season, and will include the popular calving model.

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday and we look forward to seeing you at one of the major beef events in January. While nothing is ever certain other than change, we are hopeful to a return to a something more normal in 2022. One characteristic I have learned that the beef industry excels in is optimism.

The IBC at Iowa State University serves as the university’s extension program to cattle producers. Our center comprises a team of faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. We work together to develop and deliver the latest in research-based information to improve the profitability and vitality of Iowa’s beef industry. If you’d like to be notified of updates on progress of research projects or programs that might be coming to your area, please subscribe to our “Growing Beef” newsletter by following the link on our website, If you have a question, use the “Ask our Experts” link on the website. Also, feel free to call us at 515-294-BEEF or email us at You can also follow @iowabeefcenter on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and now, AgFuse!